Vince Leonard is my good friend and colleague. We have co-authored three books together, Sibelius a Comprehensive GuideRecording in the Digital Worldand Finale An Easy Guide to Music Notation. Below is an interview I had with Vince recently about Finale. Vince goes back to Finale 1.0 and is equally comfortable in Sibelius.

1. Vince – as a long-time Finale expert, what improvements in Finale over the past several years have saved you the most time?
My top 5, in no particular order are: Staff Styles, Re-pitch (part of Simple Entry) Extracted parts in a singe file, all the improvements to expressions and articulations (auto positioning, drag input, meta tools), and support of all software synths. Honorable mention goes to the redesign of the Repeat tool. Human Playback is a huge improvement for playback but if doesn’t qualify as a time saver.

2. What Finale plug-ins do you find most helpful?
Cautionary Accidentals is something I use on almost every score I create. The TGTools package is great, in fact I own the full version to TGTools. I always tried to avoid having two parts on one staff until TGTools’ Smart Explosion of Multi-part Staves came along and made separating them a snap. The result is more readable full scores that make the conductor happy and individual parts to keep the player happy.

3. Do you upgrade every year?
Yes, as an author and instructor I have to stay current with the technology. Also, the music end of my business dictates that I be ready to work in whatever version a client requires. That said there has been the occasional version that I didn’t use much.

4. What are the top time-saving techniques you use when entering scores in Finale?
It’s all about time saving and establishing a consistent work flow so that things become second nature. I work with a lot of large ensemble scores so I can copy and paste a line with articulations and dynamics down a section and use the Re-pitch feature of Simple Entry to create a new part with the longer tasks of entering performance information already done. For parts I create a separate parts file so I can make a lot of page changes for all the parts at once and not worry about changing my score. I use Begin a new staff system for all the measures I want to begin a system in the parts. That way I get the layout I want fast and it translates into every part regardless of what is in the measure.